Borrowed servants? Great idea, could use one who irons and cooks. (a Rigsby qui tam post)

Alabama law recognizes the borrowed servant doctrine as a complete defense to liability…(11th Circuit)

In other words, under Alabama law, Renfroe had no liability to State Farm and the Rigsby sisters could dismiss their claims against against Renfroe without impacting their case against State Farm.

the Alabama Supreme Court recognized that “one [Rigsby] in the general employ of one master [Renfroe] may with respect to particular work be transferred to the service of a third person [State Farm] in such a way that he becomes for the time being the servant of that person, with all the legal consequences of that relationship.” (United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co. v. Russo Corp. with names inserted)

Up their sleeve or in their briefs reported State Farm’s latest Eddie Haskell motion and, almost as an afterthought, Exhibit A’s reference to State Farm’s retaliatory discharge of the Rigsby sisters:

MR. MATTEIS: Your Honor, we’d be happy to brief…[retaliatory discharge]… It’s on a joint employer theory that State Farm effectively was a joint employer. There is some law on that. I think there is enough testimony already in the record that State Farm was the one giving them direction from the beginning. They reported to State Farm employees throughout their career with Renfroe.

Although not a lawyer or blond, I have been an employer for many years – more than long enough to recognize State Farm’s color-job claiming the Rigsby’s dismissal of defendants Renfroe dismissed State Farm, as well.

SLABBED reported State Farm’s related dumb blond motion and Judge Walker’s equally blond you-just-can’t make-this- stuff-up Order.

Until recently, however, “Borrow servant” was an unfamiliar term. h/t Ashton O’Dwyer

Clearly, the long-term relationship between Renfroe and State Farm might lend itself to a single business enterprise theory of recovery against State Farm notwithstanding the Rigsby Sisters being nominally employed by Renfroe. Another tack might be arguing that nothwithstanding their being nominally employed by Renfroe, the Rigsby Sisters became “borrowed servants” of State Farm due to the high level of control which State farm had over all employees of Renfroe…

I try not to think about Judge Acker; but, it was impossible not to think of him serving as both judge and jury after reading:

The Alabama Supreme Court has repeatedly held that vicarious liability
stemming from master-servant relationships is usually a question of fact for the
jury.

Of course, this is Mississippi:

MR. Matteis: Just one other thing, Your Honor, just that we’d like to point out that both sides do have a jury demand In this case, both in the complaint and in the answer. I think we’re in agreement on that.

THE COURT: You do have a jury demand?

MR. Matteis: We do, as does State Farm.

As I researched case law on “borrowed servants” I couldn’t help but think about attorneys who told me off-blog that Renfroe lacked the standing to file suit. Judge Acker surely knew the 11th Circuit and Alabama Supreme Court decision(s) that made Renfroe v Rigsby and the Hunting of the Snark.

The Judge left the Court, looking deeply disgusted

For what it’s worth, as I read and learned about the law related to “borrowed servants”, I also wondered why the Southern District Court, Judge Walker specifically, allowed any mention of Renfroe-Rigsby and if Judge Senter’s related recognition of the case was a stand-by-your-man event or the unfortunate result of law clerks relying on Judge Walker’s decisions and not their own research.

With its army of lawyers there is no doubt State Farm has know the implications of Renfroe’s independent contractor status all along.

But the Snark, though a little aghast…

Went bellowing on to the last.


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